Pounds: Doesn’t hold waterWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
Someone sees a firefighter at Costco buying bottled water and the rumor spreads that a water ban must be imminent.
Someone in line at a grocery store hears half of a phone conversation about a news report and the rumor spreads that a water ban must be imminent.
Someone says he has a friend who has a cousin who knows a man who works with a guy who knows a contact at the water treatment plant who says tests are off-the-chart toxic, and the rumor spreads that a water ban must be imminent.
While it is understandable that people’s confidence in the quality of local water has been shaken, it has been disturbing to see how quickly rumors of water bans have spread and how persistent those rumors are. Like a dog chasing its tail, social media whips itself into a flurry of rumors and outright lies about the region’s battle with toxic algae.
To its credit, after an initial shaky start, the D. Michael Collins administration is visibly working to keep the public informed and the rumors of another ban at bay.
The City of Toledo started posting tap water test results on its website. The “daily water pumpage” for the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant is also posted on the site.
There has also been a management change. Tim Murphy was named the interim commissioner of water treatment on Aug. 26, one day after commissioner David Leffler resigned. Collins said he asked for the resignation because he’d lost confidence that Leffler could rectify his policies or facilitate the city’s vision for the future.
Following criticism over how the city shared information during the water crisis, Collins hired a new public information officer. Stacy Weber worked for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and Lucas County Emergency Management Agency. She’ll be in charge of the city’s social media accounts, as well as communicating with the media.
All of these steps (along with a long overdue media tour of the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant Aug. 28) add up to a clear effort to keep the process transparent and the public informed. There is no way to guarantee Toledo can avoid another water shutdown as the algae season progresses. But Collins has apparently learned from his early mistakes, made some major course corrections and is working to restore our confidence in the city’s ability to navigate any potential crisis.
Hopefully our fellow citizens will remember that most rumors of imminent disaster simply do not hold water.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: bottled water, Collins Park Water Treatment Plant, Costco, David Leffler, firefighter, Lucas County Emergency Management Agency, Mayor D. Michael Collins, rumor, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department